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I’ll Take a Venti Life with 3 Pumps of Sweetness and a Side of Career. Oh, And I Have a Coupon

wwwww

So the award for the longest title goes to me.

Also the award for the biggest tantrum on the planet. It has been going on for two days two years. And now it’s ending. What I really needed to do two years ago was give myself a spanking to snap out of it, but I don’t believe in corporal punishment, so instead I whined and complained and basically made myself and many around me miserable.

And then last week I threw water at my argumentative teenager which was my wake up call to give myself a time out on my nuttiness. And here’s what I learned.

Right now I’m exactly where I need to be.

I’m not God so I can stop pretending to run the universe. He has a plan for my kids, my hubby, my job, my entitled sausage of a dog… all of us.

I’m working at Starbucks.

I can stop feeling bad about it. It’s not because I suck at writing or because I couldn’t get something better. It’s because it’s an honest living. I get to stretch that side of me that hates discipline, order and routine and become good at it. Why? Because how can I expect my kids to do the same if I haven’t learned that lesson?

In taking a little time to myself the other day (a long time coming, I might add) it really sank in that my current job situation is tough for a creative like me. But it’s not impossible. And it’s not necessarily a punishment or a burden. It’s quite the opposite.

Getting paid pennies to show up on time, flex new sides of my brain and show professionalism when I want to scream are valuable life skills that I need to be ready when the bigger stuff hits. It’s allowing me to become a warrior in my own life. This is not a crap job. It’s a magic tool belt to refine my spirit. It’s a petri dish for my character defects and because of it I get to grow.

Life is not a Starbucks drink. I don’t get to stand in line with a kushy gift card and order a Venti Existence with Three Pumps of Joy and a Side of Career. (With a gift card no less!) I get to earn it fair and square so I’m ready when the big stuff comes along.

And here’s the real kicker: What if the big stuff is not out there? What if this is the big stuff… this very minute? This very “smells like Pike standing on my feet working it all out in a green apron” minute? Is that good enough?

The very plain answer is yes. Because right here… right now… is where my kids get to be 12 and 13. Where I get to work on my relationship with my spouse. Where I get to serve others and love on my nasty customers and try to make someone else’s world better each and every day.

And in doing so I get the greatest riches of all.

Peace.

Just a few thoughts for today.

Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

bookcover profile pic

 

 

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Happily Ticked Off – The Book Preview

Hello friends!

Between my new very fancy all important writing job new barista gig at Starbucks, as well as a few writing gigs on the side/Ebay/kid wrangling, I’ve been neglecting the one place that always brings me contentment no matter what. So I’m back – and this time – I bring a video.

 

Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

bookcover profile pic

Tics, Uncategorized

20 Ways to Reduce Tics

As many of you know, I’m all about raising a kid whose spirit outweighs a few tics. But now that my baby is, gulp, a month shy of 13, it’s become apparent yet again to take a look at management. His tics are loud. I mean, so loud and startling at times that this morning I yelled, “Holy Tic Man, take it down a notch!”

I get that he can’t help ticking. And I’m beyond happy that he’s okay with his Tourettes. (I know that many of your babies are not as comfortable with them. We deal with other issues and believe me, I get the heartbreak. You have an ally in me!)

But here’s the deal: I suffer from anxiety. I do. It’s waaaaay better now than it’s ever been, but here’s why. I don’t get to sit around all day and tell my husband through tears, “Ohhhh, I can’t work and pay the mortgage. I’m having a pity party and you’re not invited.” No. I take responsibility for my tendency to feel more neurotic than Willy Allen on 3 cups of Expresso fearful at times. I:

  • Eat well
  • Exercise
  • Take a little bit of Zoloft
  • Go to a few meetings each week
  • Talk to a therapist when I feel overwhelmed
  • Sleep well
  • Stay off of all mind alterating substances (No doobage and booze for this gal. I’ve been tempted lately, believe me, but I refrain.)
  • 2 cups of regular coffee in the morning only

The same has become true for Stink. The time has come for him to be a bit more pro-active with his vocal outbursts. If he can’t control them on his own (which apparently he can’t) we get to help him. We are the parents. We make the rules.

If you’re in that boat of wanting to suppress tics, here are some options for you.

BASICS (We’re on all of this except the dairy. That’s next.)

  1. Limit Screen time
  2. Insist on at least 30 minutes of exercise every day
  3. Limit sugar, food dyes and artificial flavors.
  4. Insist on a strong multi-vitamin
  5. Insist on a really good night sleep
  6. Get off gluten
  7. Get off dairy

MORE ADVANCED (We have the doctor and we started the magnesium. Next is the Taurine)

9. Naturopath – find one in your area that will take an integrative approach to tics. Ask him or her about supplements.

10. Supplements – Ask your naturopath about Taurine, Magnesium, a good fish oil

 SUPER INDEPTH (This is happening in January after Ticmas Christmas.)

11. Salvia Test: Complete a 23andme.com‘s genetic saliva test to see what his DNA has to show for itself. Once you know, your doctor can see what is working in his body and what is not and treat it more efficiently.

12. Finger Stick Food Allergy – Get a finger stick food allergy panel by Alletess Labs.  Cost is $120. The test kit is sent to you, you can perform it in the convenience of your home and and then ship directly to the lab. Have results sent to your doctor. Once you know what your child is allergic to, you can start eliminating offending foods.

BONUS OPTIONS

13. GAPS: The GAPS diet is very intricate, but it has stunning results. In a nutshell, it heals the stomach lining so that food no longer slips through the holes, hits the blood stream and causes brain inflammation (which can cause tics.) Personally I would not resort to this diet without knowing if your child does indeed have a leaky gut. I would work with a naturopath on this.

14. Hemp Oil: There has been much research lately about the non-habit forming part of the pot leaf providing tremendous relief (or shall we say “re-leaf” for tics and twitches. Here is a link that someone in my Twitch and Bitch provided. Her son’s tics were so bad he had to miss school. They are 90% reduced now.

15. CBT: Known as Cognitive Behavior Therapy, this technique allows a child to transfer a loud or strong tic into one that is quieter and less obvious. It requires a certified therapist to work with your child.

16. Meditation: Just 30 minutes of meditation per day can rewire neurons and calm down the dopamine that causes tics. Learning to breathe and center oneself can keep give your child an opportunity to have more control.

17. Therapy: Having your child talk to a therapist can be huge in teaching them how to advocate for themselves. It’s crucial (in my humble opinion) to have them see their part in everything. While they can’t control tics, they can control how they advocate for themselves and how they behave toward others.

18. Treat the other Conditions: Most kids with tics have other issues. Often times when one treats the ADHD or the OCD (or whatever else is present) the child is calmer and the tics become fewer.

19. Hobbies: Insist on helping them find a hobby they love: Often times when a child finds something they are passionate about, the tics become less when they are focused on it.

20. Love Them and Have Fun: That is the best tip of all. Your child might not always remember a tic free childhood, but they will hopefully remember one filled with the support of people who adored them no matter what.

me and dom

Come back this week as I’ll break down this list over the course of the next six weeks, giving more detail on each tip.

Until then, may God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, change the tics you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

My book, Happily Ticked Off, is available on Pre-Order on Amazon. Get your copy today!

book cover

Uncategorized

My Little Lazy Ticker

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A quick check in to say all is status quo around these here parts. Tics mild as opposed to moderate – likely due to a big drop in gluten intake.

Stink is tired of the acupuncture – says he’s bored of lying on the table when all he can do is think about Mario, Pokemon and create comic books in his head. Then again, he’s also bored of school. He thinks waiting around for everyone to finish math on their worksheets while he’s done the mental computations is completely a waste of time. He is considered a “slam dunk” by our principal’s office for a GATE program at a local middle school should we choose to send him to a new Junior High, but he says he doesn’t want to take the gifted test because he doesn’t want more than ten minutes of homework every night.

Basically, I’m raising a gifted lazy ass.

Prayers accepted.

PS: If you live in Los Angeles, there is a Tourette Syndrome event happening in Hollywood this evening. It is featuring Michael Wolff – a gifted pianist – who is apparently the inspiration for the movie The Tic Code. Am I the only person on the planet who never saw this movie or even heard of it?

 

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Empathe TIC – My Kid

Vacations are great. Not only do they force you to slow down, but in doing so, you observe and feel things you might not otherwise with the hustle and bustle of real life.

One thing that has surfaced came from my little Stink the other day. I told him something he couldn’t do (after he and his sister’s Lord of the Flies excess experience at the beach house) and he started to cry.

I hugged him, explained why he couldn’t do it, then went on to pack for our mountain getaway. (Surf and Turf in one week… I know, life is tough… stay focused.)

Within moments a very sullen boy came into the room. I was prepared to hear a dissertation on why an extra six hour, 2 minutes and 37 seconds of electronics are not only okay but good for him, but instead he just sputtered, “Mama, I think 3 pills are too much for me.” He was fighting tears.

I sat down on his Scooby Doo bed and took him in my arms.

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“Because I keep getting upset,” he said.

My kid is a con-artist. He can say anything to get his way, but I could tell this time was different. I dug deeper.

“You mean, because you can’t have extra treats like at the beach house or more computer time?” I offered.

“No. I mean… I just feel more sad… It’s like I have these mini cries… a lot… over little things.”

I was floored. I wasn’t surprised at his feelings – just yesterday my husband remarked that Stink seemed a bit too muted. A friend, a few weeks back, remarked that he seemed super mellow. Topanga T, during our Saturday get together, commented that he seemed a bit too robotic.

And yet, check out my previous post and video – he seems okay! I figured the pills just needed a few weeks to titrate.

But after talking to Stink a few days ago, my mama bear instinct kicked in. 3 pills really are too much for this kid. We need to back it back down to 2. Minimal tics are great. It’s been awesome to feed him crud and know he’s not going to spin like a tilt-a-wheel, and his focus is awesome, but at what cost? So we can then put him on antidepressants to combat the downer effect? This makes no sense.

We are going to back it down to 2, but first we need to talk to Dr. McCracken on Monday after our trip.

“Stink, we will cut back for sure. But we can’t do it before UCLA. Do you think you’ll be able to manage your mini-cries until then?”

He looked up, teary, and then smiled. “I think some extra computer time could really help.”

CON ARTIST.

“Fine,” I said. “A little bit only.”

SUCKER.

Take away for moms and dads thinking about starting meds for tics or focus: If you can hold out until your kid is at the age where they really know their bodies and can speak about the effects, it’s super helpful. Sure, a few years of hyper activity or trying out diet and supplement techniques are a pain (but yes, they really help in managing symptoms) but it’s a great baseline. If you start meds at 4, when they are 9, how will you know what their true personalities are?

* Butt coverage: Some folk absolutely need meds due to extreme ADHD or extreme tics. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that. It’s simply my theory for parents of kids who have medium to mild tics/focus/hyperactivity. And trust me: nothing helps build a parents’ tool box of character, patience, grace and forgiveness than learning to accept and nurture a child who isn’t a perfect cookie cutter kid.

Until next time, hug that ticker of yours today!

You can now follow me on Twitter: @AndreaFrazer. (Watch out – I might start following you.)

Uncategorized

Still Awful, Prognosis for Upswing

Saw Dr. McCracken on Friday. He admitted Stink’s tics were waaaaay up.

Four possible scenarios according to him:

1. He’s allergic to the pills (they think it’s likely a placebo since his blood pressure is not lower nor is he tired.)

2. He’s just experiencing waxing

3. He might have had strep throat 3 weeks ago and we didn’t catch it. His immune system could be shot to pieces. Today I will take him to urgent care and have his throat swabbed. It’s happeneed before where he presents no symptoms but has strep. It’s always fun to explain this to the nurse on call: “My son needs a throat culture… why, no, he does not have a sore throat… no, I am not an overbearing mother who has lost her marbles but yes, I will sit on you and make you beg for air if you DON’T DO THIS RIGHT NOW I’VE BEEN LIVING WITH INSANE TICS FOR 2 WEEKS JUST DO IT!!!!!!!!!!

4. He’s hyped up from State Testing

I’m going with #1.

There is always the fifth scenario

5. He is allergic to everything I am giving him, including the smell of my armpits, the un-organic apples I am buying because it’s not in the budget right now to spend $199/week at Whole Foods, the bird that visits us every day is crapping on his head causing neck rolls and eye twitches via bird turd absorption, he is allergic to my bad jokes and awful hair that hasn’t been dyed in 7 weeks or he’s just in that pre-spike Tween upswing of tics and I’m going to have to live with vocal tics blasting out 40 times a minute (no joke) until he sprouts pubes and goes to college.

Oh, it’s all so exciting! Thank you to my mom who took Stink overnight last night. And thank you to Vickie who took my daughter overnight. And thank you to Topanga T and Big B who showed up at my home with their two bulldogs. They brought expensive IPA, grilled shrimp wrapped in bacon, shortbread cookies and chicken salad. While I took a half hour breahter at a thrift store after dropping off the kids, T cleaned up my house. My husband bought me Starbucks. I love everyone. I really do. Even the tics!

* I bring this quick edit to thank Ellen and Martina for taking both Pip and Stink on Friday night so I could go to dinner with Rex. And thank you to Daria for playing backup. God bless my community of amazing women. I swear, more frustrating than tics would be a world without strong women who have my back. Please get yourselves a strong group of people in your lives – in any form (church, temple, school, whatevvvvaaah) to get you through the rough times and to sing with during the good ones. I could say I’m lucky – and I am – but I also work pretty hard to sustain this. I’m there for others and they are there for me. It’s the best gift in this life ever.

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Tourette Syndrome Petition – Sign Up Please! Contest!

There are 2 ways you can help your child be amazing despite a few tics and twitches (or even major ones)

1. Concentrate on their gifts, not their weaknesses! Be funny! Laugh! Fake it til you make it! (Lots of exclamations here! It really works!)

2. Sign this petition to get more education and research out there to understand Tourette Syndrome. This will also help educate the public. Did you know that 1 out of 100 people are affected by T.S.? That’s a lot. Moms and Dads reading this blog, you have to know that you are not alone.

In closing, I’m off to UCLA today for our weekly drug study check up. I’m quite certain that this will be the one hour in an entire week where my kid isn’t ticking forty times/minute. Why will he not tic for the famous Dr. McCracken? Because life seems to work out like that sometimes. Which is fine. One more thing to laugh about later. If not, I’ll cry. And really, who needs that? Isn’t it so much better to not take ourselves so seriously?

Here’s your bloggy writer, Andrea, signing out. If I can wear curlers to Trader Joes, you can get through some tics this weekend. I promise!

PS: Sign that petition! Please! (I’ll even run a small contest. I’ll pick one name from the list of people who leave a comment here saying they’ve signed the petition. YOU, dear winner, will get a personally mailed note from me with a trinket from UCLA. Go go go!)

Andrea

My blogs are reposted weekly at the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome. Other bloggers write there, too, so check in to this valuable resource when you can. If you want to write your own blog there, I will happily hook you up with my editor.